Phylicia Rashad, who played Bill Cosby’s on-screen wife Clair Huxtable in The Cosby Show for eight seasons, was recently asked about her co-star’s current rape allegations in an interview with The New York Times, to which she responded: “This is in litigation now, right? Then I’m not commenting on anything. Let that play itself out.”
The beloved Cosby Show ran for decades and later sparked spin off sitcom Cosby, in which Rashad played Clair Huxtable for a further four seasons. Bill Cosby was one of America’s favorite fictional paternal figures and is now also known for the allegations of over 50 women, who claim that he sexually assaulted them.
Like many other of the fictional Huxtable family members, Phylicia made the choice to remain silent and loyal to Bill: “Am I connected to a big story or am I connected to human beings? I’m not connected to the story at all. I’m connected to people.” Whereas Keshia Knight Pulliam, who played Rudy Huxtable on the show, decided to take a different route and recently defended him on her podcast Kandidly Keshia in reponse to a comment Amber Rose made: “that isn’t the man that I know.”
This isn’t the first time Emmy-nominated actress Phylicia Rashad has commented on the allegations. Last year she got into trouble in another interview for her comment “forget these women.” She later claimed to be misquoted and clarified that her comment was made in regards to the “obliteration of a legacy” and was not about their serious allegations. She continued: “It’s difficult for me to watch this legacy be erased, as if [it] never happened… I think in the hearts and minds of people he is still held in high regard.”
The first African-American actress to win a Tony Award for Best Actress also talked about her initial scepticism about the allegations: “My initial reaction to the allegations was ‘Hmm, someone has a vested interest in preventing Cosby’s return to network television.’” When the allegations first emerged in November 2014, Bill commented: “the internet has given some anonymous people a very loud voice.” The comic actor has not appeared in any acting projects since the trials began.
Fans can catch Phylicia in her new off-Broadway show Head of Passes, which is currently showing at the Public Theater to great reviews.